China: You have a lot of Problems…Let’s focus on the Solutions

Last week I spent a majority of my time researching into “China’s biggest problems”. I put this in quotes because everyone has an opinion on this topic, mostly Western media with a big opinion on what’s going on in the Eastern giant — soon to be world superpower.

A google search came back with hundreds if not thousands of articles, blogs and op-eds on this subject. For example, Martin Feldstein’s WSJ piece on China’s Biggest Problems are Political, Not Economic, he lists corruption, skewed birth rates, and gross inequality as his top three China killers. The Diplomat says it even better in the piece China’s Greatest Challenge: Not America, But Itself. Again, its own social issues and home politics are named as the future deal breakers. I won’t list the other articles that came up, but they all reiterate the same voice and subject. China has major internal issues it must address first, before it can become a world superpower — one that other countries will emulate and follow.

All this reading about challenges has got me thinking…whenever I see a challenge, I also see opportunity. Opportunity to fix the problem and address the solution. Seth Godin, another famous Jewish thought leader, wrote a blog post titled ‘Goals, strategy and tactics for change.’ It provides the perfect framework for me to put my plans into actions, words, that I can then go to others to get buy-in for.

Oh, I also need a team to help me get this done. I can’t do this all alone. We are all created for a reason, to work together and in harmony…Recruiting efforts to begin.

until next time

xx

Xiaoming

Project allofasuddenpartJew: 2013 Recap

As the year 2013 comes to a close, I would like to reflect on the milestones this year for allofasuddenpartJew. From Limmud conferences in Hong Kong and Shanghai, traveling to Japan to visit the Chabad house, and walking around Jewish Lower East Side–I feel I have furthered my understanding of the Jewish people and beliefs.

  • Limmud - A Hebrew word that means learning, I attended my first Limmud conference in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Made a few valuable connections from the Jewish philanthropy and non-profit space.
  • Jewish Japan – Traveled to Japan (My new favorite Asian country) and spent Sukkot at the Chabad House of Tokyo. Many Japanese people are interested in Jewish people. Some Japanese believe they are descendents  of the lost tribes.
  • Melton Mini-School – After an initial Intro to Judaism course at the United Jewish Congregation of Hong Kong, I felt I needed to go deeper. I enrolled in the Melton Adult Mini-School course at Ohel Leah Synagogue and have enjoyed the teachings from Rabbi Oser.
  • Chinese Studies - Continued my studies in relevant topics. I started to pursue an MA in Chinese Studies at CUHK to deepen my knowledge of China.
  • Jewish New York City - Visited NYC to visit Jewish enclaves like Williamsburg and the Lower East Side.

I have to be honest, I haven’t been keeping up with my social media as much as I would like. My social media stats for as of December 2013 are:

  • Blog – allofasuddenpartJew (83 posts)
  • Facebook – page under the same title (480 Fans)
  • Twitter – account under the same title (285 Followers)

Looking forward to 2014–the year of the horse in Chinese astrology. The horse is a highly respected animal in Chinese culture–one that symbolizes strength, agility, and endurance. Even the German carmaker BMW’s brand name in China is 宝马(Baoma), which literally means treasure horse, contains the character for horse.

Happy New Year 2014!

Chinese Year of the Horse

Chinese Year of the Horse

Project allofasuddenpartJew: 2012 Recap

Has it been already a year?! 2012 sure went fast! As I did last year, here is a quick recap of what happened in 2012.

I took a leap of faith and moved to Hong Kong, my new home. I started a Master’s Degree program at a local university in the discipline of Social Science. 2012 has been a year of learning for me in terms of “Jewishness”. I have been traveling, exploring, and meeting various Jews in Asia and will continue to do so throughout 2013.

Some major 2012 highlights:

I have been in full Jewish culture learning mode. In 2013, I plan to do the same and learn as much as I can about Jews’ culture and history. As of December 30 2012, I have the following stats.

  • Blog – allofasuddenpartJew (52 Posts)
  • Facebook – page under the same title (481 Fans)
  • Twitter – account under the same title (218 Followers)

**Any mention of Jews and Chinese in this blog solely refers to the cultural and historical aspects of both groups. I am apolitical and agnostic and do not plan to be political nor religious in the future.**

Giving Thanks on My One-Year Anniversary in Hong Kong

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving, if you celebrate it.  During my Introduction to Judaism class, I asked Rabbi Zamek at UJC Hong Kong if Jews celebrate it, he pointed out that American Jews do.  Thanksgiving is neither a Jewish or Chinese specific holiday, it is pure classic Americana.  I hope yours was filled with delicious food, wonderful friends/family, and plenty of shopping on Black Friday the day after! :-)

I can’t believe it has been one year since I moved to Hong Kong from San Francisco! I’ve changed, well sort of, maybe a better term would be I’ve adapted to Asia…

I’m excited for more upcoming holidays (non-Jewish and non-Chinese included): Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years, Lunar New Years, etc.  The weather is getting cooler. I love getting bundled up in sweaters, jackets, scarfs, and boots.  Prefer being cold than being hot.

Tonight, I will attend a special Thanksgiving Shabbat service and dinner at the UJC of Hong Kong with some friends from my Introduction to Judaism class. Saturday night, a friend is having a big Thanksgiving dinner extravaganza – I am in charge of Pecan Pie (no oven so I had to buy freshly baked).  Looks like I will be stuffed this weekend! Looking forward to it! :)

Delicious Chinese Buns for Thanksgiving?! Possible!

Ancient Chinese Jews in Kaifeng and Shaolin Kung Fu Here I come!

Visiting Hongkou in Shanghai was fun.  The gift shopkeeper, the guards, and the administrative officers were all so knowledgeable about Chinese Jewish history.  I am writing an opinion article on HongKou. (coming soon!)

In the meantime, intensive Mandarin classes finished and I finally booked train tickets to Zhengzhou (郑州), capital of Henan* (河南) province.  Henan is notable for its historical importance; namely Kaifeng* (开封) was China’s capital during the Song Dynasty (宋朝).  It will be a six-hour train ride from Shanghai to Zhengzhou. I am going headquarter myself in Zhengzhou and take daytrips to Kaifeng, Shaolin Si, and Luoyang. This should be a good trip.  I will be blogging in realtime so hope you will follow me next week! ;-) Until next time!

Henan Trip route

Henan Trip route

*Random Factoids/Chinese Lesson:

  • 开封 or Kaifeng means Open and Close literally.  To break open a seal…
  • 河南 or Henan means South of the River literally.  A province south of the River (Yellow River)

Hong Kong Jewry Photos

Model of the JCC Robinson PlaceInscription on Ohel Leah SynagogueStaircase down to Ohel LeahOverlooking Ohel LeahModern and OldBook of Prayer
Menorah lightedTapestryStar of DavidStained-Glass WindowsPlace markers for the Hebrew BibleWhat's in a Name
Synagogue SeatingAlterP1010153P1010152P1010150P1010149
Door entry view into the SynagogueRabbi's StudyHistory of the SynagogueEarly Jewish Life in HKView from the Jewish Community CenterMap of Jewish Migration to HK and China

allofasuddenpartJew1’s photostream on Flickr.

I recently got a VIP Tour of Ohel Leah Synagogue, United Jewish Congregation, and Jewish Community Center in Mid-Levels Hong Kong. Check out my pics!

Why are the Chinese and Jews so interested in each other?

Professor Xu Xin is a widely respected academic on Judaic studies in China.

Last week, I had the privilege to listen to his lecture titled “Why are the Chinese so interested in the Jews?”  ( I may add, Jews are also interested in the Chinese, it goes both ways!)

Similar to my own perspectives on the reason, I would like to summarize for you here.

Chinese and Jewish Peoples share much in common:

1. Long and continuous history/civilization (Jews have over 5000 years and Chinese have over 3000 years)

2. Common traditions (places importance on education, family, values, and building businesses) (Jewish ladies love to play Mah Jonng! Chinese admire Jews’ business acumen )

3. Similar experiences (both Chinese and Jews have been persecuted and suppressed by others, but both live on, stronger than before)

4. Bright future (both people are set for a new future)

What do you think? Any other thoughts on the connection of the two groups? I would love to hear from you.

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